Student or Staff with the Vaccine: Dr. Darrel Smith

By Sydni Bond, Correspondent

Dr. Darrel Smith of the Physics and Astronomy department is someone on campus who has received the vaccine with the first wave of vaccine availability. He received his first shot at the end of January, roughly 3 weeks ago. Dr. Smith is anticipating to receive his next dose of the vaccine next week and is looking forward to it. He is “feeling good about it” since he got it with the first group of eligible people in Prescott. Dr. Smith says that he got his first dose because he is an eligible educator.

Dr. Smith reported his first dose of the vaccine was  accompanied by a side effect of arm soreness, which is common with the kind that he got: the Moderna. His “arm was sore for a day and a half” beginning about half a day after receiving the first dose. But once two days had passed, he “didn’t notice the [soreness] anymore” and he says he was “feeling good.”

While it does seem that not many Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students at the Prescott campus are eligible for the vaccine just yet, Dr. Smith shared that he does know of some other people who did get it. His sons also received their first doses of the shot “because both of [them] are teachers.” Dr. Smith mentioned that he is aware of a few students who have received that vaccine, including yours truly. It was noted during the interview that the first group of eligible people for the vaccine are those who are routinely exposed to many people, which seems to be in line with the graphic provided by Yavapai County detailing their vaccination process. This does go along with the published plan by Yavapai County.

Dr. Smith shared he was adamant about getting the vaccine as soon as possible because he has some family members that he wants to keep safe. So, when members of his family and himself had the option to obtain their first dose, they took that opportunity. Despite being inoculated, Dr. Smith is still practicing safety precautions and isolation measures for those who have yet to receive their first dose. There are hopes to get shots “for everyone in the house” as soon as they become available. 

As for the virus itself, Dr. Smith is not aware if he ever had it. If he did, he suspects he would have been an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. He “hasn’t had any symptoms” of the virus so to his knowledge, he has escaped infection through exposure or community spread. 

Dr. Smith has high hopes about the future of the vaccine and inoculation rates, within the county, the state, and the country. Dr. Smith hopes “it [the vaccine] will work out well” because, when compared to the flu, he noted that this is a deadlier strain. He mentioned that we need to use community efforts to get us through this pandemic. This is important as many health organisations stress the same sentiments about keeping ourselves and others safe. Even our own University President Butler said it quite well himself at the start of the academic year: it all starts with us.